Living Room Colour Scheming
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Posted by  in Design Advice


Feel as if creating a colour scheme for your living space is turning into a nightmare of choices? Our guide will make your decisions easy.

Whether you’re in a new home, or want a change from your existing scheme, the idea of creating a decorating scheme from scratch can make you feel overwhelmed by the options available. Use our logical approach to guide you, though, and making the choices is easy – and most importantly you’ll end up with a room you love.

Create An Atmosphere

Colour will create an ambience in your room. You’ll probably be spending substantial amounts of time in your living space, so your reaction to a possible colour scheme should never be ignored.

For example, confident, vivid colours like reds and oranges can give the room an energetic feel, which can be perfect if you throw a lot of parties and entertain often. However, it’s not a calming colour, so if it’s a busy, family room, you might want to avoid it.

In a family home, you might want the space to feel soothing, though, in which case mid tones of blue and green can give your room a calm feel. However, paler blue might feel calming for you, but it could feel a bit stark and unwelcoming in a room that lacks natural daylight, so consider warmer tones, such as turquoise.

Yellow might feel sunny and uplifting, but it can be overpowering in a living space, so it might be better to use it as an accent tone.

Whites, creams and neutrals can also feel peaceful, and make for a cool, elegant space for grown-ups.

So, you’re ready to start planning – where do you begin?

Work With Light

The light your living room receives will have an effect on how the colours you choose appear. It will look different through the day, too, as the sun moves, as well as when there’s no sun to speak of, and different again in artificial light.

The room’s orientation also affects the quality of the light it receives. South-facing rooms receive warmer light, so you can use colours that appear cooler to you – perhaps some blues, or pure white – without them making the room feel cold. In a north-facing room the light feels colder, so using colours with a warmer feel, such as reds, pinks, oranges and so on, makes sense.

Colours also absorb or reflect light, so take this into account as well. At the two extremes, black will absorb light, and white will reflect plenty of light – and colours in between reflect light at varying levels. If your living space is north-facing, with one overlooked window, and you don’t want a dark room, then you won’t want to opt for a colour that absorbs what little light there is.

Don’t think only about the walls. The colour you choose for the ceiling and the colour of the flooring can all affect the light levels in the room by absorbing or reflecting it, as will the colour of the furniture.

Test The Light Levels

You can test the effect of light on a paint colour by hanging a test area in your room. Don’t just use a small blob – paint a large piece of lining paper and hang it, so you can observe the colour through the day and at night.

Use Existing Furniture

Most of us will have furniture we still like, and which is in good condition – plus be dealing with the reality of not having an unlimited budget. These pieces therefore need to work in the new colour scheme.

If this is the case, these pieces are your starting point, and the colours you choose for the new elements will need to work with them. Put pictures of them at the centre of a mood board.

It’s the same scenario if you’re keeping a carpet or other flooring, or a window treatment. These need to be on your mood board, and the new items you choose need to work with them.

Where To Start

Begin creating your new living room scheme by collecting samples and buying tester pots for what you might want to use. For inspiration, browse our living room galleries, and tear pictures from catalogues and magazines. The best way of viewing all your options together is with a mood board.

Don’t rush at it. Take time to enjoy the planning, and play with possible options to see how they work together.

Make A Decision

A logical approach making use of the properties of colour, your reaction to it, the light in your room, and the pieces you’re re-using in your scheme will lead you to success with your living room scheme.

Always keep in mind the number one thing you want to achieve with the new scheme. For example, your room might feel too dark, so using colour that adds to the light will be central to your planning. It might feel cold, so your scheme will be all about adding warmth with colour. Alternatively, you could be after a more fun feel, in which case a bold contemporary colour scheme will be your aim.

Keep your central goal or the problem you need to overcome at the heart of what you do, and all the other elements will follow, and add to the effect.